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7 Rules for Overhelpful Leaders

Don’t hand the ball to a person who habitually drops it. Turbulent days have enough frustrations of their own. Don’t enable people to frustrate you.

First reflection:

Examine yourself before you complain about others.

  1. How are you helping in unhelpful ways? Negative patterns are leadership’s fault.
  2. Why aren’t you bringing up negative patterns?
  3. How are you doing the same thing, but expecting different results?
  4. What leadership development skills will improve your ability to help others effectively?
  5. What do you expect of yourself when negative patterns persist?

7 rules for overhelpful leaders:

#1. Don’t help too quickly. If your first response is doing something for someone, you are teaching people to depend on you, not themselves.

Leaders who help too quickly are despised by the people they help. No one respects you when you treat them as if they were incompetent.

#2. Don’t help too much. Before offering help, ask, “What do you need from me?” People need to hear their own voices asking for help.

Leaders who help too much enable helplessness.

#3. Don’t help too long. Provide help when people are learning new skills, rising to new responsibilities, or taking on new roles. Never habitually do someone’s job for them.

Competent people need to run.

#4. Always bring up issues with optimism. Don’t bring it up if you don’t believe in their desire and ability to improve. Reassign them instead.

#5. Help people who outgrow the need for help.

#6. Don’t talk about anything you aren’t going to do something about.

#7. Don’t worry about concerns you won’t confront. Accept mediocracy.

When to stop helping:

Stop helping when you encourage dependency.

Stop helping when:

  1. Competent people don’t step up.
  2. Competent people expect help.
  3. You do more and they do less.

How might overhelpful leaders learn to be less helpful?

What are the secrets of effective help?

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